Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

I Won't Be Shopping at AutoZone Any More

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | June 09, 2011 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: anti-gay discrimination, HRC

Auto-Zone-logo.jpgIn case you missed it, the Huffington Post just ran a story about HRC's list of The Worst Companies For LGBT Workers, including two retailers to avoid: AutoZone and Cracker Barrel.

Cracker Barrel's been in my no-eat zone for years because of the multitude of lawsuits against them for racist practices, and AutoZone has also made news for discriminatory policies.

As bad as those regional suits were, nothing compares with corporate policies which re-enforce social and economic discrimination against LGBTQ Americans.

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Really? Cracker Barrel? They've given money to the Tennessee Equality Project and is part of the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, according to this article:

I'm confused. The posted article says there is no diversity training required, but the Nashville article says there is. Maybe it's just local?

How quickly we forget. Cracker Barrel may have changed their ways, but boy, did they need to. We protested Cracker Barrel in 1991 in Nashville because they announced, loud and proud, their intention not to employ lesbians or gay men at all.

If companies change their ways, shouldn't we laud that as a good thing? It's been 20 years since 1991. I'm not saying we forget--but we should celebrate, too.

Are these corporations who haven't given money to HRC? Is that why they're bad for LGBT workers? HRC is not a legitimate LGBT organization and they can not be trusted with any assessment. This sucks for the LGBT community.

I think it's time for LGBT writers to stop regurgitating HRC's press releases and start finding out facts for ourselves. We've seen what "trusting" someone else to fight for our rights does: not a damn thing.

Maybe that was because the city of Nashville had antidiscrimination policies? (Which the Tennessee legislature and governor has since made illegal.)

I want to mention another company which is low on the HRC list and might surprise some people. It's Scholastic Inc. (headquartered in NYC). Their rating is barely above that of Walmart. I find this doubly offensive for several reasons: 1) They're a New York City company not an Arkansas company, and while there are progressive and gay/trans accepting people in Arkansas it's no big shocker the corporate culture of Walmart would be fundamentally more conservative. What's Scholastic's excuse? 2) Scholastic is a company which includes many educators at all grade levels... to me this makes their policies all the more offensive; 3) Scholastic literally has a strangle hold on many school districts... the Scholastic Book Fairs are mandated fundraisers which are usually decided upon at the district level. Scholastic uses aggressive marketing ploys to integrate their product line into schools and families which disagree with their employment policies may find it literally impossible to avoid them; 4) Scholastic's uncool employment policies have found their way into their books (in other words, books being sold to school kids). They actually had a best selling book where they removed mention of a 2-mommy couple from the book in their 'special edition' which they sold at book fairs. As a former teacher and a parent, I've attempted to bring these issues up with (wait for it) The San Francisco Unified School District (yup, THAT city) and heard zero back from the supposedly progressive school board members. What's wrong with this picture? Yes, absolutely boycott AutoWorks (I do) but if you have school age children just try avoiding Scholastic Inc. and their oinky employment practices.